Friday, 19 July 2024

Textile Details

'Libertad a los presos politicos / Freedom for the political prisoners', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Libertad a los presos politicos / Freedom for the political prisoners', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


Title of Textile:Libertad a los presos políticos / Freedom for the political prisoners
Maker: Anonymous
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1985c
Size (cm): 46cm (w) x 37cm (l)
Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
Type of Textile: Arpillera

The women who made this kind of arpillera resorted to their textile skills as a means by which to live with conflict and its memory on a daily basis. As Marjorie Agosín(2008) quotes: "For the arpilleristas the political events of their country and their daily lives became inseparable" ("Tapestries of Hope, Threads of Love" , Rowman & Littlefield).

The struggle for better conditions for political prisoners became extremely relevant. This arpillera shows a group of women protesting in front of a prison and demanding the release of the prisoners within.

Actions depicted in arpilleras like this one brought international pressure on the Junta,and internal disagreements within it, made General Pinochet sign the convention against torture in 1988. In turn, this allowed Spain to indict General Pinochet on charges alleging human rights violations during his regime from 1973 to 1990.

The powerful effect of this type of political expression was not recognised at first by the military. Ariel Zeitlin Cooke explains: "Ironically, war textiles are largely disregarded by modern military authorities because of their feminine connotations and can therefore be a relatively safe forum for dangerous or provocative ideas" (Weavings of War).

When the Chilean military finally recognised the power of the arpilleras, they condemned these works as subversive materials and if found they would have been stopped at Customs and destroyed before leaving the country.

Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
Location: c/o Karen Logan, Senior curator, Ulster Museum, Belfast
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh
Provenance: Kinderhilfe arpillera collection, Chile/Bonn

Textile exhibited at: 'Arpilleras Aus Chile' -Eine Retrospektive, 6/05/2010 - 28/05/2010
Stitching Resistance, 12/10/2010 - 16/01/2011
Arpilleras e resistência política no Chile , 30/07/2011 - 30/10/2011
Arpilleras of Chilean political resistance , 22/03/2012 - 5/06/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 1, 5/09/2012 - 29/09/2012
RETAZOS TESTIMONIALES: arpilleras de Chile y otras latitudes, 28/09/2013 - 10/11/2013
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles II, 6/12/2013 - 22/02/2014
SMALL Actions BIG Movements, 1/07/2014 - 11/07/2014
Sew to Speak – Human Rights, 12/09/2014 - 14/09/2014
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 17/11/2014 - 18/11/2014
Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 6/02/2015 - 7/03/2015
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria , 26/03/2015 - 30/09/2015
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria, 8/10/2015 - 4/04/2016
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria , 13/04/2016 - 12/06/2016
Arpilleras, yesterday and today, 14/09/2017 - 15/09/2017
Arpilleras Speak Truth, 25/09/2017 - 28/10/2017
Arpilerak: Memoriaren Haritik Etorkizuna Josten / Arpilleras: Al Hilo De La Memoria, 12/04/2018 - 24/04/2018
ARIPILLERAS: AL HILO DE LA MEMORIA, TEJIENDO FUTURO / Arpilleras: Knitting the Future, 25/04/2018 - 30/05/2018
Justicia Transicional y Arte-Textil / Transitional Justice and Art-Textile, 24/09/2018 - 18/10/2018
Conflict Textiles talk , 3/02/2019 - 3/02/2019
Embracing Human Rights, 5/11/2019 - 18/12/2019
Embracing Human Rights: Conflict Textiles’ Journey, 9/01/2020 - 31/07/2020
The Art of the Banner, 9/02/2021 - 23/02/2021
Nonviolence in Action: Antimilitarism in the 21st Century, 24/03/2021 - 31/12/2021
Anticolonial Archiving as Method, 10/03/2023 - 10/03/2023
Threads of Empowerment: Conflict Textiles’ International Journey, 21/06/2024 - 27/04/2025

Textile Detail Image(s)